BIO Alabama: Convergence of partners essential to building bioscience industry in state

BIO Alabama: Convergence of partners essential to building bioscience industry in state
BIO Alabama Vice Chair Amy Sturdivant of HudsonAlpha participates in the virtual conference. (contributed)

The third day of the BIO Alabama Conference focused on the key players in Alabama’s economic development ecosystem and the need for intentional promotion of Alabama to a global audience.

BIO Alabama Board Chairman Blair King, Vice Chair Amy Sturdivant of HudsonAlpha and Executive Director Sonia Robinson provide a recap of major takeaways from day three panels and speakers:

  • BIO Alabama, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Commerce, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), incubators, accelerators and investors, plays an important role in positioning Alabama for growth in the bioscience industry.
  • The first session of the day was a BIO Alabama panel presenting findings from industry research that was used to develop BIO Alabama’s Strategic Economic Development Roadmap, which enables the alignment of all economic development stakeholders in the state and offers recommendations for business attraction and retention. The panel consisted of King (Alabama Power Company), Jonathan Cox (Aerotek), Saksham Narang (The University of Alabama at Birmingham), Sturdivant (HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology) and James Childs (Maynard Cooper Gale). BIO Alabama summer and fall intern cohorts were instrumental in developing the plan and delivering the virtual conference.
  • The Keynote Address with Bob Hess of Newmark Knight Frank detailed the strategies that site selectors use to evaluate sites and how companies qualify locations. Hess’ colleague Alan Reeves presented an alarming, but important, fact – that Alabama is not on the radar of most bioscience companies. This underscores the need for BIO Alabama to proactively attract companies and develop the workforce. The tactical discussion focused on the need for a comprehensive public relations and marketing campaign that touts the advantages of Alabama outside the state.
  • Alabama’s economic development leaders Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield and Greg Barker, president of EDPA, discussed how the convergence of BIO Alabama with organizations across the state will elevate and amplify Alabama as a leading location to invest in and grow bioscience. Outreach should focus on these specific areas: 1. drugs and pharmaceuticals, 2. medical device and equipment, 3. research institutes, universities and medical laboratories, 4. agriculture and chemicals, and 5. biotechnology distribution.
  • A panel discussion from the BIO Alabama Virtual Annual Conference. (contributed)

    Three afternoon sessions focused on fundraising and investors.

    • Founders/CEOs shared their personal stories of fundraising, and participants heard the other side of the story by learning how biosciences investors evaluate opportunities. Neill S. Wright, president and CEO of Bronze Valley, spoke about the latest addition to his organization’s investment portfolio, Acclinate Genetics.
    • A bioscience angel investor forum provided the basics of the role and the evaluation process of investment opportunities. Simply put, great ideas get funded, so it is crucial to encourage entrepreneurs and startups to actively seek investors.
    • Investor relations expert Stephanie Carrington of Westwicke led a how-to on developing investor relations plans and best practices for first pitches, including developing relationships with investors before the pitch as well as after it.
  • The day ended with the last of a two-part session titled “Good Things in Small Packages – Drug and Gene Delivery in the Age of Nanotechnology.” Continued from Tuesday, part two featured the work of Avanti Polar Lipids and Alabama State University in increasing the efficacy of new drugs and creating vaccines. The great news is that advanced scientific practices are occurring in Alabama, which creates an ecosystem ripe for growth opportunities.

To find more information and register for the fourth and final day of the BIO Alabama conference, click here.

BIO Alabama is the leading advocate for Alabama’s bioeconomy, representing the state on a national and international stage to promote the intellectual and innovative capital that makes Alabama a premier place to invest, start and grow in bioscience.

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